Targeting Young Adult Texters for Public Health Emergency Messages: A Q-study of Uses and Gratifications Offenbecher
Public health departments have a responsibility to be responsive to their public’s communication needs, delivering information in ways that are easily accessible and fit the ways that individuals prefer to communicate. The best forms of health communication do not require people to step outside of their usual information-seeking behavior. Instead, information is better when it is provided seamlessly in the flow of the daily contexts of people’s lives. From our perspective as both public health practitioners and researchers, text messaging – otherwise known as Short Message Service (SMS) – offers a potentially powerful means of outreach that meets people where they are. People use texting in ways that make it distinctive from other types of communication. By identifying how and why people use text messaging, and developing health communication strategies within the context of people’s expected attitudes, uses and motivations, health communicators will be more successful in using text messaging to address fundamental communication gaps and provide wider access to health information, particularly during public health emergencies.